If you want to lower your risk of painful urinary tract infections, a large new review of studies suggests you should turn to a little red fruit.
Researchers from National Taiwan University Hospital and the National Taiwan University College of Medicine analyzed the results of 13 studies that included 1,616 people to demonstrate the link between cranberry intake and decreased UTI risk. The studies compared the UTI risk from taking cranberry products, placebos, or nothing.
Specifically, researchers found that women who get recurrent UTIs seem to be benefit especially from cranberry products.
And BBC News reported that actually drinking cranberry juice, versus taking a cranberry-containing pill, seemed to be more effective at preventing UTIs.
Reuters said that, on a whole, consuming cranberry products was linked with a 38 percent decrease in urinary tract infections.
The infections occur when the urinary system becomes infected, most commonly the bladder or the urethra, according to the Mayo Clinic.
"What this is doing is solidifying what has been folklore for quite some time," Dr. Deborah Wing, a UTI expert at the University of California, Irvine, told Reuters. "Finally, the science is catching up to what our mothers have been telling us for so many decades."
However, researchers noted in the review -- published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine -- that because the designs of all the studies varied-- such as how long study participants took the cranberry products, or the dosages of the cranberry in each product -- "this result should be interpreted in the context of substantial heterogeneity across trials."
The researchers reported that UTIs affect women more often than men, with as many as half of all women experiencing at least one UTI. As many as 30 percent of these women will get recurrent UTIs, they said.
Typically, antibiotics are prescribed for people experiencing UTI, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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